President Trump is proving to support Veterans in a way that Obama never did.
Brendan Smialowski is a US vet who lost all four limbs after contracting a bacterial infection while serving in the coast guard. After meeting President Trump and shaking his hand Smialowski decided to share with America just what that meant to him.
In 1997, I contracted a rare bacterial infection during my service in the Coast Guard which resulted in the loss of my arms and legs as well as several of my internal organs. At the time, I felt my life was over and I couldn’t imagine finding purpose again.
I never could have dreamed that two decades later, the President of the United States would be shaking my hand – or hook, as it so happens – as I represented more than 1.3 million other seriously injured and ill veterans as the National Commander of DAV (Disabled American Veterans).
As a former Coast Guard rescue swimmer, I am all too familiar with adrenaline-pumping experiences. Though quite a bit different than plunging from a helicopter into icy waters to perform an emergency rescue, shaking hands with the President of the United States was still a surreal, unforgettable moment in my life.
I was proud to represent DAV as President Trump recently authorized the creation of the VA Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection.
An arbitrary date makes veterans like me and caregivers like my wife Yvonne ineligible for life-changing benefits like medical training, respite care, health and education benefits and financial support.
There are currently three pieces of pending legislation that would, if enacted, expand those caregiver benefits to veterans of all eras. Bills like these have floated through many sessions of Congress without action, largely due to cost concerns. And it’s true, providing comprehensive caregiver support to all veterans who need it would incur a cost, but far less than what it costs to provide nursing home or other institutional care.